If you can't drink their beer, make your own

Published December 13, 2006

A Fayetteville, Ark., woman affected by a disease that stops her from enjoying wheat products will soon be able to say "beer me" without fear of getting a stomachache or other illness. Constance Rieper-Estes and brewmaster Leigh Nogy plan to open the Dark Hills Brewery, which will produce gluten-free beer. Rieper-Estes and her son are both celiac, which means they can't eat pasta, bread and other foods that contain gluten. For Rieper-Estes' marriage reception, Nogy brewed two gluten-free kegs. The beer proved popular and the two women embarked on their business venture to open a brewery in northwest Arkansas. The women said they plan to distribute the beer in Arkansas for a year to build brand recognition, then try to move into bigger markets.

Apple iTunes sales suddenly off-key

Apple Computer Inc.'s iTunes music store suffered a 65 percent slump in sales during the first six months of the year, reversing almost two years of gains, according to a Forrester Research Inc. report. The number of iTunes transactions declined 58 percent between January and June of this year, while transaction size fell 17 percent, the market-research firm said Tuesday. ITunes spokesman Tom Neumayr said the report is "simply incorrect." Forrester, which based its findings on analysis of 2,791 U.S. iTunes debit and credit purchases, said it is too soon to tell whether the decline is seasonal or if demand for digital music is falling. Apple got $452-million in sales last quarter from music sold through iTunes as well as accessories for its market-dominating iPod device, the company reported in October.

Microsoft patches 'critical' problems

Microsoft Corp. put out three software patches Tuesday that fix problems carrying a "critical" rating, the company's highest threat level. All three could let an attacker remotely run code on a victim's computer. The patches close holes in Microsoft's Internet Explorer Web browser, its Windows Media Player program and its Visual Studio 2005 development software. Four other patches, for vulnerabilities deemed "important," also were released for Windows and its Outlook Express e-mail program. Computer users with Microsoft's automatic updates feature enabled in Windows do not have to do anything to get these seven repairs. Others should visit Microsoft's security Web site.

Trans fats on way out, Denny's says

Denny's Corp., a chain of more than 1,500 family restaurants worldwide, plans to eliminate trans fat from menu items as early as the first half of 2007. The plan includes changing frying oil and margarine used in food preparation, and working with food manufacturers, the Spartanburg, S.C., company said. The move would "impact products that are deep fried or prepared on a griddle," spokeswoman Debbie Atkins said, such as the "Grand Slam" breakfast of two eggs, two bacon strips, two sausage links, two pancakes and hash browns, she said.